Where to stay in Beijing

A traditional pavilion and a sleek modern hotel in the Chinese capital.

Aman at Summer Palace

What's so special?

For a luxury trip to China with an authentic flavour, the Aman at Summer Palace is ideal. It's located around 15km northwest of Beijing, right by the Summer Palace complex of imperial gardens, a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Based in a series of traditional Chinese pavilions, the resort offers guests a mix of typical Chinese interiors alongside the decadence and high service standards the Aman chain is known for.

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How they rate it

The hotel "has its own back door into the gardens" of the palace, "a great coup which allows guests to beat the hordes by visiting at dawn and dusk", says Malcolm Moore in The Daily Telegraph.

The bedrooms are large, with high ceilings and "excellent bathrooms", and there are traditional Chinese touches throughout, such as screens and lanterns. "This hotel is made for would-be emperors."

The menu

A wide range of cuisine is available, from imperial Chinese dishes to Cantonese food to a Western grill.

The cost

Prices start from £390 for a double room, including breakfast. For more, visit www.amanresorts.com/amanatsummerpalace/home.aspx or call 00 800 2255 2626.


The Opposite House

What's so special?

If you prefer to stay somewhere a little more sleek and modern, the Opposite House is for you. It's where the fashionable set stay when they come to Beijing Beyonc has been known to check into the penthouse drawn by its location in a trendy up-and-coming area, and its lobby full of contemporary art.

How they rate it

Cond Nast Traveller readers voted the Opposite House one of the best hotels in the world in both 2011 and 2012, praising its futuristic, slightly other-worldly atmosphere. "Its Rubik's Cube-like green-and-yellow glass exterior gives way to a striking, six-floor atrium hung with curtains of steel mesh," says the magazine.

The loft-style rooms have high ceilings, with hardwood floors, and oak soaking tubs in the bathrooms. It's not cheap, but it is "a precious refuge against the bustle of Beijing and something entirely unexpected and out of the ordinary", says Moore.

The menu

The hotel has four eateries: Mesh, a cocktail bar, Sureno, for Mediterranean cuisine, Village Cafe for international favourites, and Jing Yaa Tang for contemporary Chinese cuisine.

The cost

Double rooms start from £270, room only. See www.theoppositehouse.com or call 00 8610 6417 6688.


Three of Britain's best restaurants

The Curlew at Bodiam, East Sussex, is a converted coaching inn where "stile meets style", says The Guardian's Audrey Gillan. It was awarded a Michelin star in 2011, and the key to its food is "simplicity and seasonality".

It "uses the best (mostly local) ingredients while still offering remarkable yet affordable dinners" mains start from £21. You can stay close by in a shepherd's hut recycled from old touring caravans, in a glade near Bodiam castle. Rooms from £79. See www.original-huts.co.uk. Restaurant: www.thecurlewrestaurant.co.uk.

The Gunton Arms (pictured) in Thorpe Market, Norfolk, is set in a 1,000-acre deer park. The menu includes venison sausages and ribs of beef, served around a 16th-century open fire in the middle of the Elk Room.

Chef Stuart Tattersall trained with celebrity chef Mark Hix, but prices are reasonable at around £30 for three courses. Stay onsite in one of the eight antique-filled bedrooms. Rooms from £95 a night. See www.theguntonarms.co.uk.

Barley Bree in Muthill, Perthshire, has been named rural restaurant of the year in the Scottish Restaurant Awards. Chef Fabrice Bouteloup changes the menu daily sample mains (from £10.50) include slow-cooked ox cheek with confit vitelotte potato, beetroot and curly kale, carrot and celeriac. Stay upstairs in one of six bedrooms (from £105, including breakfast). See www.barleybree.com.

Ruth Jackson-Kirby

Ruth Jackson-Kirby is a freelance personal finance journalist with 17 years’ experience, writing about everything from savings and credit cards to pensions, property and pet insurance. 

Ruth started her career at MoneyWeek after graduating with an MA from the University of St Andrews, and she continues to contribute regular articles to our personal finance section. After leaving MoneyWeek she went on to become deputy editor of Moneywise before becoming a freelance journalist.

Ruth writes regularly for national publications including The Sunday Times, The Times, The Mail on Sunday and Good Housekeeping among many other titles both online and offline.